With less than 24 hours until I’ve been clean shaven, clothed, and sent off into my personal voyage of hope; I can’t help but feel terrible at my lack of updating the world on the most recent changes in my plans.
Even while my life required me to keep moving, I never stopped keeping the thoughts and wishes of those closest to me, with me, as close as anyone can ever be.
Plan Until the Plan Changes
A wise man once told me this phrase. If you go full-throttle into everything you do without ever taking time to contemplate the world around you, how can you know you’ve gone in the right direction?
As many of you know, Eastern Japan was devastated with recent tragedies. The scope of which I have never been witness to before. Honestly, I still haven’t had such an experience, being that my work keeps me in the far west of Japan. That being said, my heart bleeds with the need to help. I do not wish to bore you with endless dribble about a possible self-righteous holier-than-thou messiah complex. I only want to do my part. Being that I have the ability to set aside months of free time, I’m lucky to have the chance to give as much as I can.
So How Does This Change Things?
I must apologize. I’m in love with my hike. I’ve planned every piece of it for years, and i’ve been looking forward to it for even longer. My apology goes out to those who’ve donated money. This is because my hike has changed. I will still complete the entirety of the buddhist pilgrimage around shikoku. This will be the first 40 days of my journey. However after this, I will go to eastern Japan to help with transporting food and providing spot translation. (I definitely can’t translate, however I can provide simple, “Do you need water?” translations). There are a few companies I am looking at, so I will let you know when I decide (after I have completed the first section).
Eventually, I will complete the journey by traveling the old roads of Japan. However, to assuage my need to do my part, I must go to Eastern Japan. I will still portray your wishes and dreams the entire time, but if you would like your money back please let me know.
Where’s the FAQ and the Contribution Page?????
Yes… I haven’t had the time to post since the earthquake. My apologies for this! However, be rest assured! I will post everything after the hike. From there, I’ll make a documentary and everyone will be in the credits as well as on this website!
So… You’re Really Doing It?
Yes. In 11 hours I will shave my head. 7 hours after that I will leave for the biggest journey of my life. Please check back to this website every once in a while, or follow me on twitter or facebook. I will let you know where I am.
As ineloquent as this post may be, let me end it with this. We all have dreams, right? I’ve said it many times, but it begs being repeated. We all have dreams. I want to prove those dreams are worth it!
I will do just that.
I promise. 約束よ
The following letter goes out to everyone who may want to accompany me on this wonderful journey. I was given a template from a friend of mine who I am forever grateful to. My version of the letter is as follows.
This letter details two pieces of news, an offer, a request, and an invitation! I hope it finds you well during these cold winter months. Without further ado!
NEWS ITEM #1: I’m leaving
I’m leaving my job, and leaving Yamaguchi Prefecture. After 2 and a half years of working for SES, I will be leaving the company on April 1st, 2011. I’ve had a wonderful chance to meet so many amazing people. It’s very hard to be packing my bags, getting ready to leave.
However, this doesn’t mean I am leaving Japan. In fact, I’ll be taking a break from work to fulfill a lifelong dream.
NEWS ITEM #2: A three-month pilgrimage
Since coming to Japan, I’ve fallen in love with the culture and history. On April 2nd, 2011, I will venture forth on a journey through the heart of Japan. My route will combine three famous routes into a 2,500 km hike. I will be hiking around the island of Shikoku, visiting the 88 temples of the longest walking pilgrimage in Japan. From there I will trek through the historic roots of Japan on my way to Kyoto. Then I will take an Edo era route, the Nakasendo, through the picturesque mountains of Japan, from Kyoto to Tokyo. After this I will walk the Tokaido route back to Kyoto with a detour in order to climb Mount Fuji.
THE OFFER: Your intentions
This leads me to the offer. In the old days–just as today–few people could get away for a pilgrimage that would take months. So, often, a village would get together into a sort of “mutual aid society” and appoint one member to go on the pilgrimage for the group. He would represent their requests at the shrines and temples along the way.
I would like to do this for you. If you will send me your intention, I will solemnly promise to present it:
- at least once a day on the Tokaido and Nakasendo portions of the walk, as well as in front of the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) of Nara; and
- at every one of the 88 temples on Shikoku, meaning an average of almost twice a day.
What qualifies me to do this? Well, for one thing, I will be walking, which is a sort of offering of discipline. I will also be keeping the pilgrims’ vows: becoming vegen, and abstaining from sex won’t be much of a problem. In addition, I will not drink alcohol during the trek, and I will be endeavoring to control my speech, by not lying, speaking ill of others, and so on.
What sort of intentions can you express? Traditionally there are two kinds. The first is a request. This is where you ask for something–a new job, success on an exam, a wife or husband, health for a loved one, a good school for your child-or non-personal things, such as an end to domestic violence, or for world peace, etc. The second type of intention is giving thanks for any the above that have already happened, or just simply for the gift of life itself.
With this, I’d like to invite anyone I have the chance to meet in person to sign one of my bandannas. This act further solidifies the connection between your intentions and my journey. If you’re living in America, let me know of your address and I can send a bandanna to you. If you live in Japan, let’s meet up before I leave. At the latest, please come to the party listed at the end of this letter.
Please send me your intention by e-mail to Kris AT krijali.net , and I will present it as faithfully as possible.
THE REQUEST: Your contributions
Let me be perfectly clear: I will present your intention whether you make a contribution or not.
But there is a kind of cosmic principle that says if you are serious about a request or thanksgiving, you will do something to show your sincerity. One thing you can do is to agree to express the intention YOURSELF for as many days as I do. Another would be to pray for me as I carry the intentions of many. And of course another would be to contribute financially to my trip.
Three months is a long time to be “unemployed”-and homeless! There will be lodging expenses (though I will sleep out as much as possible). I’ll also be creating a documentary for the journey. And of course, a man’s gotta eat! So your help would be appreciated.
The people in the old days understood this. The “mutual aid society” was truly mutual: the people who sent the man on the journey paid his way, and often pitched in to help his family while he was gone.
How much should you give? Anything would be appreciated (and as I said even no contribution is perfectly acceptable). But as a guideline, I have set up four “circles” where your name can be listed on my website (unless you specify that you wish to be anonymous). The four circles are:
- The Intentions Circle: 2400 yen or $24.00 (US) or more, representing the hours of each day; each one of equal importance.
- The Tokaido Circle: 5300 yen or $53.00 (US) or more, representing the 53 post stations of the Tokaido
- The Nakasendo Circle: 6900 yen or $69.00 (US) or more, representing the 69 post stations of the Nakasendo
- The Kobo Daishi Circle: 8800 yen or $88.00 (US) or more, representing the 88 temples of the Shikoku pilgrimage
Please tell me by e-mail the amount you wish to contribute, and I will send you information on how to make your deposit or deliver your donation.
AN INVITATION: A party
Finally: If you are in the Shunan area on Saturday, April 2nd, please come to my send-off party at 1 p.m. in Ryokuchi Park (send for directions). You’ll have the chance to shave my head, I will don my walking clothes, and I will have my last drink before I hit the road. That evening, I will travel to Shikoku to begin the journey.
- Send your intentions by e-mail to Kris AT krijali.net
- Let me know if you plan to make a contribution at the same address
- Come to the party if you can!
- Check my website frequently: www.project-go.com
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please keep me in your thoughts.
I’ve received many requests to explain the logistics of the trip as it’s planned thus far. So, I wrote this post for all of you who want to know more about me and my reasoning for this trip. I’ll try to make this quick and short for easy reading!
Location: Japan. Specifically around Shikoku, then to Kyoto, and then from there to Tokyo and back to Kyoto.
Distance: Around 2,500 km (1,500 miles)
Budget: Roughly 550,000円 ($5,500)
Departure Date: March 1st, 2011
Arrival Date: Between July 1st and July 20th
Distance per day: Between 15km/day and 20km/day (7 miles/day and 14 miles/day)
Why do it?
I touched on this with the mission statements. There are really a few goals.
- To help other people – This entails finding every possible way I could help people from helping people I know to random acts of kindness. I’m not trying to save the world with this trip, simply trying to be more spontaneous with compassion.
- To prove I can do it – I want to prove to myself that it is possible, and along with this I want to prove to others the same goal. It isn’t the longest hike ever, or even the longest hike in Japan. However I believe it is unique in it’s goals and configuration. That uniqueness is key. Instead of doing exactly as someone else has done before, I’m tweaking things I’ve seen from the past to fit my dream.
- To provide a path for others - I want this trip to be in writing, on video, and on Twitter. From there, I want to give others the chance to create their own unique journey and enable those dreams as much as I can.
- To work on my Japanese - One of my goals in life is to become fluent in Japanese and French. My Japanese has steadily worked up to conversation level, and I want to take it much further than that!
Any other questions?
I hope that makes a few things clear. If anyone has anymore questions, I would love to answer them! My next few posts will be more about my research and a more thorough essay on enabling the dreams of others. I will keep this one open to editing if anyone has any ideas of what I should add! I look forward to hearing from you!
The Project’s Mission:
To provide an example of fulfilment, seek to support others in a 2,500 km hike through Japan, and develop a structure for those who wish to do the same.
This site’s mission:
To document the preparation, exercise, and reflection of my journey through Japan in support of “Project Go”
To find the best sushi and cheapest pizza.
“In twelve months, two weeks, six days, and one evening, I will venture forth on a journey through the heart of Japan. My route will combine three famous routes into a 2,500 km hike. I will be hiking around the island of Shikoku, visiting the 88 temples of the longest walking pilgrimage in the Japan. From there I will trek through the historic roots of Japan on my way to Kyoto. Then I will take an Edo era route, the Nakasendo, through the picturesque mountains of Japan, from Kyoto to Tokyo. After this I will walk the Tokaido route back to Kyoto with a detour in order to climb Mount Fuji.”
The room around me began to become bothersome. The calendar from one of my students being among one of the only things on my barren wall stuck out as a reminder that I started this English-teaching-in-Japan career on an exhaustively abhorrent whim. My short desk seemed too ridiculous; cluttered with Japanese textbooks, empty glasses, and three Moleskine notebooks. Next to this, the futon lies unmoved. I’d been using it as a chair, bed, and den of creativity throughout my year here. You know, Winston Churchill was also a believer in the power of naps…
“Wait, why?” A familiar voice rang in my head. I sat for a moment. Completely lost, I hadn’t given thought to such a simple question.
“Well, what if you could just do it?” I stammered… out loud.
After getting over the fact I just spoke out loud, to myself, I fell onto the futon. I needed to find an answer to this question, and I needed to find it quickly.
So, I turned my electronics off and cleaned my yoga area. I sat down and meditated for what seemed like forever (possibly three minutes…). I thought of the many different reasons I had for this trip. I thought of the many different reasons I shouldn’t go. And most importantly, I thought of the trip itself. I had my answer.
We all have dreams, things we wish to accomplish in life. I’ve heard from many people, “…dreams are only that, dreams.” From the bottom of my heart, I seriously, desperately, and fiercely need to believe they’re wrong.
I’m going on this journey for many reasons of both a professional and personal nature. I’m going to document all of it here, in order to do just that. I want to create an example to show people, they can achieve those dreams. Because I think they can.
And I will prove it.